Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Federal Stimulus

Urgent Action: Oppose Highway Robbery in Senate Stim Bill

Stimulus debate continues today in the Senate, where the stale ideas keep on coming. In addition to the $50 billion highway slush fund floated by Senators Boxer and Inhofe
(no vote on that one yet), Missouri's Kit Bond plans to offer two
amendments that would rob from transit, rail, and green transportation
to pay for highways.

These are the two amendments from Bond:

    • One strips all $2 billion set aside for high speed rail and redirects it to highway funds.
    • The other takes $5.5 billion from "competitive grants" for transportation and gives it to highways.

How
quickly the days of $4/gallon gas are forgotten. It goes without saying
that de-funding high-speed rail and shoveling extra billions to
unaccountable state DOTs, most of which have a penchant for expanding
highway capacity, is exactly what we don't need right now. (Bond should be trying to locate billions for transit operations instead: His
constituents in St. Louis are bracing for the nation's most severe transit cuts.)

What's
more, the $5.5 billion for competitive grants could serve as an early
litmus test for Ray LaHood's Department of Transportation. The funds
are not set aside for a specific mode -- they could be spent on
transit, roads, aviation, or ports. But if the criteria for winning the
grants include traffic mitigation or emissions reduction, this pot of
money could spur innovative transportation reforms, much like the Urban
Partnership program under Mary Peters. Because the bill leaves it
open-ended, we don't know yet how LaHood will use the money, and if
Bond's amendment passes, we'll never find out.

To oppose
backwards transportation policy that deepens oil dependence, worsens
quality of life, and flies in the face of sustainability goals, call
the Senate switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and urge your Senator to vote
no on Bond's amendments and the Inhofe/Boxer amendment. You can also
use action alerts from Transportation for America and Environmental Defense to get the message out. Keep us posted about those phone calls in the comments -- we'll have more updates throughout the day.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

SUV Driver Kills Girl, 3, in Harlem, Wounds Mom And Young Brothers

The girl's death marks another grim entry into a crisis of pedestrian traffic deaths this year.

July 12, 2024

Moped and E-Bike Safety Legislation Becomes State Law

Retailers must register mopeds at the point of sale, in addition to giving new owners safety information, under new legislation signed by Gov. Hochul on Thursday.

July 12, 2024

Roadway Dining May See Dramatic Decline Under Eric Adams As Deadline Looms

Fewer than two dozen restaurants are in the pipeline for roadside seating, according to public records.

July 12, 2024

Opinion: Congestion Pricing Is A Compromise

Alternatives paths to cut congestion and pollution and fund the MTA make congestion tolls look like a cheap parlor trick.

July 12, 2024

Friday’s Headlines: Department of Victim Blaming Edition

Traffic deaths in the city are on pace to reach their highest number since at least 2013 — and DOT is reportedly blaming "jaywalking." Plus more news.

July 12, 2024
See all posts